Home of the Buddha's Great Relic

Wat Mahathat Ayutthaya

The city of Ayutthaya is very famous for its historical significance and has a special status for Buddhism. Ayutthaya was also the capital city of the Ayutthaya Empire. Among many reasons for its glamour, one is the temple of Wat Mahathat. Wat Mahathat, also known as the “Temple of the Great Relics”, is situated at the Ayutthaya centre. The temple hosts the great relic associated with Buddha, and it is also a place where the Thai Buddhist monks’ Supreme Leader resides. It is believed that the temple was built around the 14th century, in the early period of the Ayutthaya Dynasty.

It is located in the sub-district of Tha Wasukri. Wat Mahathat now is only the remains of its original structures. The main infrastructure collapsed, in 1911, after a restoration project was completed.

Due to the importance of the temple, on 8 March 1935, Wat Mahathat has been recognized by the Fine Arts Department as a national historic site. Wat Mahathat is also a part of Ayuthaya World Heritage Historical Park.


Wat Mahathat Ayutthaya


The Vital Temple of Ayutthaya

Serving as the residence for the Supreme Leader of Buddhist monks, and hosting the great relics of Buddha, Wat Mahathat has gained a special status in the world of Buddhism. It is considered the most sacred temple in Thailand. Once, it was the core of Buddhism during the Ayutthaya Kingdom. The temple was also very important for the Royal family. The King used to perform several ceremonies and rituals like the ceremony of Royal Kathin.

Wat Mahathat History

In 1374, King Boromma Rachathirat I constructed the first structure of Wat Mahathat. Enshrine Buddha relics; a large prang was built. At the beginning of the 17th century, the prang collapsed, which was later restored. During the reigns of later kings, the assembly halls (viharas) and chedis were added to the prang.

During the invasion of the Burmese Army, the city of Ayutthaya was attacked, and the temple was set on fire. Once again, the temple collapsed, and it is not restored completely.


The excavations for Wat Mahathat started by the Fine Arts Department in 1956. The main chamber was found under the pedestal of the pagoda by the workers. Moreover, many ornaments, a solid gold lion, gold accessories, ancient images, religious figures depicting Buddha were found during the excavations. Some of these artefacts were displayed in the national museum of Chao Sam Phraya.


Buddha Relics at Wat Mahathat


Design of the Wat Mahathat

The temple of Ayutthaya’s Wat Mahathat is based on the temple concept of Khmer construction. The same structural design could be seen in temples like Wat Phuttai Sawan, Wat Racha Burana, and Wat Phra Ram. In Cambodia, the temples of Angkor were also built on the Khmer concept.

Central Prang

In Wat Mahathat, around each corner of central prang, there are four small towers. Numerous figures and sculptures were engraved in these galleries.

Viharn Luang

The assembly halls are to the east of the central prang. In the west, they connect with the gallery. The iconic picture of Buddha is also present there. Additionally, there is also a sculpture of Buddha’s head in a tree. The worshippers come here and pray for health, fortune, and success.


Buddhas Head at Wat Mahathat

Ordination Hall

On the opposite side of the central prang, an ordination hall represents the typical monkhood in Thailand’s temples. The hall is bounded by “Eight Sema Stones”, which define the holy area of the temple.